It was 8 pm that Tuesday night when Dempsey got that phone call that turned his whole life upside down. A phone call he never expected to receive anymore because it had been two years since the last time he saw and spoke to the man on the other side of the line.
"Dempsey?" the man said "If my daughter knew I have finally been able to reach you she would probably kill me, but I'm glad she doesn't know that yet"
"Lord Winfield?" Dempsey was surprised to hear the man's voice but on the other hand he knew instinctly that there must be something terribly wrong.
"I have the feeling that you didn't phone me for nothing. Is there something wrong with Harry?" when he had said that, he got a strange feeling in his stomach mixed with fear. Harry.... only thinking on her brought back such sweet and tender memories. He still had no idea why she didn't contact him anymore these last two years.
"Yes James. Your feeling is right. Harry isn't doing well right now. She probably will never admit it but I believe you are the only one who's able to help her at the moment" and then slowly Lord Winfield started to tell him the whole story. With every word, James was even shocked more. This couldn't be true. This wasn't happening. Not to Harry!
At the end James could only say one thing: "I'll book a flight to England and come over as soon as possible"
"Thank you" was all that Lord Winfield could say to him, "Thank you very much!"
And now he was standing on Heathrow Airport. Back then he still had had the idea that he would be back very soon. Not that it would be taken two very long and extremely lonely years.
Outside the airport he rented a car and drove to Harry's home. Lord Winfield had told him that she was still living in the same house and James was glad that he had saved the spare key set of the house that Harry ones had given to him because she became tired of all the times that he broke in into her house.
When he entered the house and closed the door behind him, he realised that he had missed everything more then he expected. The living room reminded him on the last evening he had spent in London before he flew back to New York. How he and Harry set on the couch for hours and how they made love upstairs later in the bedroom. Holding each other very tight, trying to comfort the other, but both failing to do so. On all the promises they had made to keep in touch with each other and on that point Dempsey thought that she meant it as much as he did but obvious he had had it all wrong.
After been to a restaurant to eat something, he drove to the hospital. Lord Winfield had told him that it wasn't a problem that visiting hours probably were over for that day by the time he arrived there. But that he would be welcome every hour of the day. He had made that arrangement with the nursing staff and to be honest Dempsey was glad that he had done that, that he hadn't had to wait till the next day before he would be able to see and to speak to Harry.
Inside the hospital he had to ask twice for the right direction before he reached level 11 and the room where Harry was laying. A nurse came up to him saying that he wasn't allowed to get in anymore, but when he said his name the nurse only smiled and whispered: "I'm glad you came".
"How is she doing?" he asked with great concern.
"Well, what do you want to know? Mentally or physically?" she answered, opening a file that she was holding in her hand.
The nurse took a sheet out of the file and started to read it. Then she looked up at him with a worried look on her face.
"My shift just started so I had to fill in myself first, but from what I read here, some people, including her father, had heard her saying that she doesn't want to live anymore if there will be no changes in her life conditions in the near future"
Dempsey only could look at her with even more concern on his face and that was obvious because the nurse laid a hand on his arm and said: "This happened more to people in the same condition as Mrs. Makepeace, but it's a serious thing and we really have to do everything that's possible to give her the courage to look further"
"What can I do? How can I help?"
"I guess only your presents here will make a great difference. Tell her that she doesn't have to do it alone. That's what most patients here worried the most about. But they forget that they had family and friends around them to help and that they need there support. That's the most important thing we advise: supporting, telling the patient not to give up hope immediately. There's so much possible these days, but the patient itself had to fight for it, without the will of the patient we can't do anything"
The nurse put the sheet back in the file. "Mrs. Makepeace condition isn't hopeless." Then she pointed in the other side of the hallway.
"That's her room. You can stay as long as you wish"
With these words the nurse left him alone. Dempsey saw her leaving and he took a deep breath before he opened the door to Harry's room. He had no idea what to expect inside. Harry was lying on her back in bed with her eyes closed and obviously didn't hear him entering the room. Slowly he made his way up to her. She still didn't react. For a short moment of time, he looked down at her. He couldn't help it but his view went automatically to the right side of her body. Her right arm was laying on the sheets it seems without any life in it. He felt so hopeless; he wished he could do something for her.
"Harry" he whispered quietly. No reaction.
"Harry" he tried again. "Harry, it's me"
Slowly she opened her eyes and looked up at him. He had expected everything but not the horrified look he saw laying into them.
"You?" when saying that she tried to get up to sit higher in her bed but failed.
Dempsey immediately reached his hands out to help her but she pushed them away with the words: "Don't touch me! What the hell are you doing here?"
"I came as soon as I found out"
"I don't need your sympathy. And how did you find out?" but then realising something she continued: "My father. It was him, wasn't he?
Dempsey could only admit that. "I'm glad he informed me"
"Well, I'm not. Where were you when I needed you the most? Well?"
Confused Dempsey shruggled his shoulders.
"What do you mean?"
"That doesn't matter anymore. I have been able to handle my own life the last 2 years so I'll be able to handle this as well. Go back to New York, I don't need you here!"
After saying these words she closed her eyes again. But Dempsey wasn't finished yet.
"Harry look at me" but she didn't react. "Harry! I'm not going anywhere, not before we talked this out"
"There's nothing to talk about. So will you please go!"
"No! Why are you so mad at me? I thought you would be thrilled to see me again?"
"Thrilled?" Harry opened her eyes again. "Thrilled? After all you have done to me?"
"Done? As far as I know, I didn't do anything"
"That's exactly what I mean"
"Meaning what? Sorry, but I have no idea where you are talking about" Dempsey had taken a chair and was putting it beside Harry's bed now to sit down.
"I see, you have no intention of leaving" Harry said, seeing what he was doing.
"No, of course not. Let's change the subject. How are you feeling?"
Harry gave him a weak smile before answering Dempsey's question: "Hopeless"
"It's not hopeless, a nurse told me that, but you have to believe in it"
"I'm not believing in anything anymore"
"Harry? I understand that. That's why I'm here. To help you. Harry? Let me help you" Dempsey took Harry's left hand into his.
"As long as you need me, I'll be here."
"Oh great. And after that? Will you disappear then again, leaving me alone as you did 2 years ago?"
Dempsey developed Harry's hand now between both of his own hands.
"I never disappeared, but I never heard from you so I thought you moved on with your life and that there was no place in it for me anymore"
Harry was a little confused now. Something didn't sound quiet right here.
"But you never gave me a number how to reach you!" Harry said.
"I did. Soon after I had my new apartment I gave you my number. I even phoned you that first week that I was back every single evening but I got every time that damned answering machine of yours"
Harry looked at Dempsey in total disbelief now. Then slowly she started to remember something.
"I wasn't at home that first week after you left. I asked Spikings for a week off, I went to Winfield Hall, I couldn't get my mind focused on the job. Every time I entered his office, in my imagination I saw you standing there that last time and when I came back it took me 2 weeks to discover that my answering machine was broken"
"You could have contact me at the NYPD" Dempsey wondered why she hadn't think of that.
"I did, but they say there that they wouldn't forward personal messages!"
When Dempsey heard that, he started to get angry. "Damned!" he stood up from his chair and was passing the room.
"I'll never forget that horrible night in Spikings office"
Dempsey turned around and when he saw Harry looking back at him, he knew that she had never forget that night either.
It had been Sunday. They had spent the day together after a whole week of working. They went to the park, had lunch and then went home to Harry's apartment to have a quiet evening. But that evening was ruined by Spikings demanding them both at the office. The man had refused to tell them what was going on and at the office first wanted to speak with Dempsey alone. That was quiet unusual and Harry waited outside becoming more and more nervous as time past by.
Finally Spikings opened the door telling Harry that Dempsey wanted to speak to her. The man himself left and Harry entered the room. Dempsey was standing in the corner with his back to her.
"What's wrong?" she asked, thinking that it had something to do with one of their cases, but when Dempsey turned around, she saw something in his eyes, she had never seen in them before: tears.
"Harry" he started. "Harry, I'm so sorry"
"What? What do you mean?" Deep inside her, a terrible feeling started to grow. A feeling mixed with fear.
"I felt so sure, that I've never told you about it, I wanted to surprise you" Harry wanted to interrupt him but he made a gesture not to do so. So she just took a chair and Dempsey set beside her.
"Here. It's better that you read it yourself" He gave her a piece of paper. "I tried everything. Please believe me, but for the moment they won't give me a permanent job here. I can try it again in 3 months time or so"
With shaking hands Harry read the piece of paper Dempsey had given to her. There it was stating that he had to leave England after his 12 months were over. That he could try to get a permanent job in London, but that he had to work another 3 months in New York first before they could consider his request.
When Harry read that she had the idea or her whole world had fallen apart.
"Harry, I don't know what to say. I never expected this. I behaved myself the last few months by not shooting everyone and we finally got together as a couple, I felt so happy about that and now...... I don't know anymore what to do. Of course I'll try it again in 3 months time. Hopefully they will accept my request then. "
After that Harry couldn't hold herself together anymore and she felt the tears running down her cheek. Dempsey tried to comfort her, but she could feel his tears running down as well. Maybe he didn't even notice that.
Half an hour later they had left the SI10 and went to Harry's apartment as they planned earlier. Harry felt miserable, she had such great news to tell Dempsey herself and she had planned to do that this evening, but now she knew that she couldn't do that. Not as this moment. So she became silent and even didn't tell him when he indeed flew back to New York 2 weeks later.